HdL HeadLines calls out retail trends affecting the economy to provide you with insight and support in your budget preparation and economic planning.
- Retail Sales Show Little Change in July Amid Fall in Gas Prices and Drop in Auto Sales
- Walmart Sales Rise, Profits Fall on Inflation in Q2
- China Factory Orders Drop in Ominous Sign for Global Outlook
- E-Commerce Prices Decline for the First Time in Over Two Years: Adobe
- Retail Disruptors are Turning to Layoffs to Cut Costs and Restructure
- Mall Owners Say Retailers are Still Opening Stores in Spite of Recession Fears
- HdL Insights
Retail activity was flat in July as falling fuel prices held back gas station sales and consumers turned more heavily to online shopping, the Census Bureau reported. While advance retail sales were unchanged, total receipts excluding autos rose 0.4%. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for a 0.1% increase in the top-line number and a flat total excluding autos. Retail and food sales excluding gasoline and autos rose 0.7% from a month ago.
Walmart posted a better-than-expected performance for the second quarter, with companywide revenue and earnings beating analyst estimates. In the U.S., comp sales rose by 6.5% and net sales by 7.1%, to $105.1 billion. Operating income in Walmart’s U.S. business fell 6.7%. Executives attributed lower operating profits and margins on markdowns and a higher share of grocery products in the retailer’s sales mix.
Investors wanting to gauge the health of global consumer sentiment should look no further than China’s factories right now. Makers of Christmas decorations to clothing and tents say orders from overseas customers are drying up, with some predicting the best they can aim for is flat demand versus last year, according to more than a dozen export managers interviewed by Bloomberg News.
Amid a period of record inflation, Adobe’s Digital Price Index found that online prices dipped down 1% year over year in July and 2% on a month-to-month basis, the first time in 25 consecutive months in which prices have declined instead of grown. Electronics prices saw one of the greatest decreases at 9.3% year-over-year, as did toys (8.2%).
It’s not a great time to be a disruptor in retail. For new companies that hope to challenge big-name brands, a mix of high inflation and changing trends have upended many of the consumer patterns seen during the COVID-19 pandemic. E-commerce and tech retailers are in a particularly tight situation, as some consumers return to in-store shopping. While many of these brands experienced skyrocketing sales and online demand over the past few years, most have quickly been brought back down to Earth.
The biggest shopping mall owners in the United States say retailers are still forging ahead with their plans to open new stores in spite of growing recession fears. Simon Property Group reported an occupancy rate at its U.S. malls and outlet centers of 93.9% as of June 30, up from 91.8% a year earlier. Retailers in the U.S. have announced 4,432 store openings so far this year, compared with 1,954 store closings, according to data from Coresight Research.
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